After conducting a national search for its next CEO, Charter Communications decided it already had the best man at the helm.
Michael Lovett had been serving as Charter’s interim CEO and president ever since Neil Smit vacated the CEO post in March to become president of Comcast Cable Communications, but yesterday Charter removed the interim tag. After being named CEO and president, he also joined Charter’s board of directors.
Before the permanent promotion, Lovett served as Charter’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.
"Mike has sound strategic vision, strong operational skills and a commitment to leading Charter in delivering an exceptional experience to its customers, making him clearly the best candidate for this position," said Eric Zinterhofer, Charter's chairman of the board. "With impeccable industry credentials, Mike has been a key member of the Charter leadership team for many years, and his professionalism and leadership will serve Charter well as we enter the next phase."
Last year, Charter, which was largely backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Charter is the nation’s fourth-largest cable operator.
"During the past year, Charter has produced significant accomplishments, and I want to thank all of our employees for their focus and dedication," Lovett said. "We are committed to delivering the most robust high-speed Internet, video and phone solutions to both consumers and businesses, and I see tremendous opportunity for Charter to build on our strong foundation to meet our customers' evolving needs and exceed their expectations. With a stronger balance sheet and solid operations, we are well positioned to capture that opportunity."
As COO and executive vice president, Lovett was responsible for the oversight of Charter’s two operating divisions and company-wide customer care.
He was promoted to executive vice president of operations and customer care in 2004, and to his current position in 2005. Lovett joined Charter in 2003 as senior vice president of operations support.
Lovett's career in cable television began in 1980 with Centel Communications, where he held a number of positions in operations. He was with Jones Intercable from 1989 to 1999, rising to senior vice president with responsibility for operations in nine states. And he was with AT&T Broadband as regional vice president of operations from June 1999 to November 2000.
Charter also announced that Eloise Schmitz, executive vice president and chief financial officer, will leave the company when her contract expires in July. Charter said Schmitz would remain with the company on an interim basis to facilitate a smooth transition while a search is conducted.